Santa Barbara Sunrise

April 14, 2003

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Provided by: Stacey O'Neill, University of California, Santa Barbara
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Stacey O'Neill

This photo was taken from the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, one morning last winter. The vibrant crimson and orange hues illuminate the morning sky. Since at sunset or sunrise, the Sun is on or near the horizon, the Sun's rays have to travel through more of our atmosphere (greater path-length). This results in more scattering of the shorter wavelengths (blue and violet light), enabling the residual, longer wavelengths (reds and oranges) to steal the stage late in the day or early in the morning. It should be noted that if the Sun is rising through clean air, it will typically appear a pale yellow color -- the color usually observed at dawn.

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